Melbourne City suffered our first defeat of the A-League Women season on Saturday afternoon against Perth Glory.
With a number of City stars either watching on from the sidelines or starting as substitutes, the visiting Glory side scored twice in the second half after a tight opening 45 minutes.
It was an unfamiliar-looking City line-up, with Head Coach Dario Vidosic forced into five changes – mostly due to late returns from international duty, while Julia Grosso missed with a minor hamstring injury.
Leia Varley made her first City appearance, Karly Roestbakken her first of the season, Kiera Meyers made her A-League Women’s starting debut and it was a first City start for Tijan McKenna.
Starting XI: 44. Lysianne PROULX (GK), 19. Tijan McKENNA, 16. Karly ROESTBAKKEN, 5. Taylor OTTO, 2. Leia VARLEY, 14. Laura HUGHES, 6. Leticia McKENNA, 10. Rhianna POLLICINA (C), 8. Kaitlyn TORPEY, 15. Kiera MEYERS, 17. Hannah WILKINSON.
Substitutes: 23. Melissa BARBIERI (GK), 3. Naomi CHINNAMA, 11. Emina EKIC, 18. Leah DAVIDSON, 24. Daniela GALIC.
It was an even beginning to the contest as both sides traded spells of possession and were content to feel each other out with not much pressing happening at either end.
Kaitlyn Torpey, who was playing a little higher up the pitch than usual, had an early strike on goal but a good block meant we wouldn’t get the perfect start in the fifth minute.
Lysianne Proulx was called into action 10 minutes later, tipping Isobel Dalton’s effort over the bar for a corner.
It wasn’t long until we were attacking up the other end of the pitch, Hannah Wilkinson finding the opener in the 17th minute.
It was a well-placed Tijan McKenna cross doing the damage, although Wilkinson still had plenty of work to do, twisting her body and getting plenty of power on her header which was in off the underside of the crossbar.
Leticia McKenna was looking dangerous in midfield and had a great chance on goal in the 22nd but in a similar story to Torpey’s earlier effort, a good block meant the goalkeeper wouldn’t be required to make a save.
Despite a pretty resolute defensive performance from an unfamiliar back four, a smart ball from Perth unlocked the City defence in the 32nd minute and allowed Millie Farrow to equalise.
Rhianna Pollicina and Torpey continued their strong first halves and both forced saves out of Aquino in the space of 30 seconds not long before the break.
The second half almost began brightly for City, with Pollicina only a fantastic diving block away from putting us 2-1 ahead just a minute in.
Unfortunately from there though, the inexperience and unfamiliarity of City’s line-up saw Perth grab a hold of the momentum.
Farrow was on the scoresheet twice within 20 minutes to complete her hat trick, as we struggled to test Aquino at the other end.
After entering the pitch as a substitute just after the hour mark, Emina Ekic forced a good save moments into her cameo, but City wouldn’t come much closer for the remainder of the contest.
Up next on the agenda is a trip to Central Coast to face the Mariners next Friday night, before we return home to host Victory in the Melbourne Derby.